Let me start by saying I’m not entirely sure how constructive this post is going to because I am incredibly disappointed with this team and just wanted to express some thoughts/feelings about the state of things right now.
First of all, that was a terrible performance tonight against the Blue Jackets. I don’t need to look at some fancy stat, or any kind of stat for that matter, to see that they were outplayed in every zone and puck battle up and down the ice. What makes this worse is that the Blue Jackets were two points back before tonight’s contest with a chance to take the 3rd and final playoff spot in the division from the Flyers. One would think that the Flyers would come out playing as hard as they could to defend that spot, well it became pretty apparent that would not the case. So as the Flyers continue to struggle, which has been happening since they returned from their road trip in early January, the rest of the division continues to trend upwards.
There play has been absolutely terrible lately.They struggle to break out of their own zone which puts extract stress on everyone and generates too many chances against. This becomes very apparent when the other team applies any kind of forechecking pressure. There is also a lack of sustained pressure in the offensive zone as well. They also really need to stop taking so many penalties against. I’m not sure how they can go about fixing this, but it’s becoming a huge problem.
Also, how about we all ditch the whole “comeback kids” thing. That is not something to be proud of and a team cannot expect to fall into a hole every single game and expect to comeback and somehow pull out a win. Don’t get me wrong it makes for some exciting hockey, but it is no way to play the game. I feel like they have become so accustom to playing from behind that when they do hold the lead it completely changes their game and it slips away, not good.
This defense also needs a hard looking at by the coaching staff and the management. It really is just flat out bad. There were two goals that were the fault of Luke Schenn tonight. The dude doesn’t just allow goals against because of poor defense, but the number of pucks that he has redirected into this own net blows my mind. I really think it’s time to scratch him and get Gus back in the lineup, but why would anyone want to do that? Was it because we sold so low on JVR and scratching Schenn makes it look like we just gave him away? It’s not just Luke that is bad at defense by the way, it’s all the guys that get payed to play the position that seem to be struggling. The majority of them are slow and can hardly move the puck. If you are looking for turnovers though, man, these are the guys for you.
Which brings me to my next point.
If it is at all possible please, please, please can they move Vinny? This may be rather hard to do because of the movement clause in his contract, but if there is anyway we can get this guy to go I think it should happen. He can’t play the wing very well, as we have seen, and his possession numbers are terrible. On top of that it displaces Brayden Schenn, who has been playing very well in his natural position at center, to the wing.
I think they should also sell high on Mez before his production comes falling back down to earth. I would like to see a package that sends him out and nets someone, anyone, that can help the blueline.
I also think that we are seeing the regression of Mason. His numbers have been very poor recently, but I am having a hard time figuring out if it is just poor defensive play in front of him because he has been left to dry constantly in the last month or so. He has been giving up a lot of big rebounds lately though and he does not look as confident as he did in the beginning of the season. I guess well see where he is at the end of the season.
I am a Flyers fan through and through, but that does not mean that I will not be critical of them. There is a difference between losing a game after fighting and playing hard as opposed to coming our flat night after night and just rolling over. I will never stop watching the games regardless of how poorly they are playing. They just look lost out there right now because there is individual effort, but not a lot of team cohesion.
Things are only going to get tougher in the next two weeks before the break. They have an extremely hard schedule ahead of them. So hopefully they can find a way to perform and give the fans and themselves a reason to believe that they deserve a playoff spot.